Bats Day at Disneyland: Goth "Freaks" or Friendly Folks?

jenny erikson
Photo by Kristen Bons
One of the many advantages of living in Southern California is the plethora of fun things to do as a family. This year we've treated ourselves to annual passports to Disneyland. As long as we bring our own snacks and manage to ward off the "I wants" coming from the kiddos, it turns out to be a pretty good deal.

But this isn't an article on "Things to Do in So Cal" or "Budget-Friendly Travel Tips" or even "Family Fun in the Sun."

This past Sunday afternoon, my husband and I packed up our two girls (ages 6 and 2) and headed for Disneyland. Even before we left the parking garage, we noticed some out-of-the-ordinary clothing choices for a bright spring day: Fishnets, black lace, combat boots, corsets, and thick, dark makeup were everywhere we looked.


"Mommy, why are all of these people dressed like weirdos?" my precocious 6-year-old asked (quite loudly, I might add).

"It's a different style, Babe, it's not weird. It's just different than what you're used to seeing."

My daughter eyed me suspiciously and said under her breath, "I still think it's kind of weird."

Once inside the park, we saw more Goth on Main Street in May than we've ever seen in the Haunted Mansion during October. Something was going on. I tweeted about it and was quickly informed that it was Bats Day at Disneyland.

What's Bats Day? It's an annual conference of sorts for those who love Goth, an opportunity to get together and have a good time. I have to admit, I felt oddly out of place in my jeans and halter-top.

I was failing miserably at averting my eyes from some of the gorgeous costumes (and some that were just outlandish). My mama taught me that it was rude to stare, after all. Then it hit me -- these people were dressed for attention. So I looked. I waved. I smiled. My husband and I chatted about which ones we liked the best, and whether or not we should "go Goth" for Halloween next year.

And guess what? It turns out that although those kids looked like they'd stepped out of an Anne Rice novel, they smiled and waved back. They laughed and chatted with their friends. Girls and boys flirted with each other. They didn't drink vials of blood. At least not that I could see.

They were nice, normal people, hanging out at Disneyland on a beautiful day. Just like my family was doing.

Which was why I was shocked to overhear a few comments that went above and beyond my daughter's earlier "weirdo" remark. The comments I heard from the J.Crew and Gap-wearing crowd included, "What's wrong with them?" and "Why are they here?" and even "They're obviously disturbed." 

What a shame those clean-cut types never learned not to judge a book by its dark, lacy, and corseted cover. Next time, they should try to remember that there's a real live person under those clothes. And he or she probably thinks their khakis and polo shirts are totally weird.

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